Communication Theory Development (COM 500)
University of Washington — Autumn Quater 2017

M/W 12:30-2:20pm, CMU 242


Benjamin Mako Hill


Office: Community Data Science Lab (CMU306) & CMU333 for meetings

Office Hours: None Scheduled. I'm in my office 10am-8pm most days and you're welcome to drop by. I'm also happy to meet by appointment during times that I am available. Detailed contact information is posted on my website.

Patricia Moy


Office: 238 CMU

Office Hours: None scheduled. Feel free to drop by or email to set up a time to meet!

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce graduate students to the multiple ways scholars theorize about communication. Our hope is that students will learn to draw connections across scholarship produced within the wide variety of different approaches to our field within a setting that honors many different types of theory.

Our department integrates several traditions found within the expansive field of communication. Ths course thus pushes students to identify the opportunities and challenges of developing theory across these traditions (which are traditionally taught in separate departments and colleges). Our overarching goal is to have students ask themselves how to take best advantage of their time in a department that integrates interpersonal communication, journalism studies, political communication, rhetoric, critical/cultural studies, communication and culture, as well as the study of communication technologies and society. Our hope is that through this course, students will begin to see how their own questions might (or might not) speak to multiple audiences within communication scholarship.

COM 500 can only introduce a handful of key ideas from each of these distinct traditions; it is not intended as an exhaustive survey. Instead, we introduce the multiple lineages of scholarship and research in this growing discipline, along with the different epistemologies, or theories of knowing, that are used within these different traditions.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Differentiate and integrate some of the common epistemological and theoretical frameworks employed by communication scholars and in our graduate curriculum;

  • Articulate the key approaches to communication within our own department and situate UW Communication within the field;

  • Identify and interpret key communication concepts, theories, and questions in each of the department’s areas of emphasis;

  • Understand how various domains of scholarship can offer a foundation for one's own scholarship in one or more of these areas;

  • Gain skills for successful graduate study including referencing, resources, general graduate-level reading, writing, and study skills;

  • Develop literacy in reading, understanding, and discussing scholarly literature; and

  • Produce at a beginner’s level a mapping of key and emerging concerns within the fields that constitute communication.

Notes About The Schedule

You should expect this schedule to be a dynamic document.

  • Although we do not expect major changes, some details of this syllabus may change. We will try to ensure that we never change readings more than six days before they are due. Over the quarter, the two instructors will meet to finalize all the readings for the following week. This means that if you plan to read more than one week ahead, contact us in advance and will attempt to make arrangements to finalize things earlier.

  • Closely monitor your email and the announcements section on the class Canvas site. We will summarize our additions and any changes to the schedule in an announcement on Canvas once each week by the end of each Monday.

  • We will ask the class for voluntary anonymous feedback throughout the quarter. Please let us know what is working and what can be improved. In the past, we’ve used this feedback to make adjustments during the quarter.

Assignments and Assessment

Assignments and Grading

There will be four types of assignments in the class that will be weighted as follows:

Discussion and participation 25%
Response papers (14 total) 30%
Deep dive reports (2 total) 10%
Facilitation (2 total) 5%
Final paper 25%
Final presentation 5%

Discussion and Participation

Participation is one of the most subjective activities to assess. We will look at the following high-level rubric when assessing participation throughout the quarter:

  1. Attendance: Do you punctually attend class? It is reasonable to miss a class every so often, but excessive absences and tardiness will result in a lower participation grade. Even if your absence is excused, if you aren't present, you can't participate.

  2. Preparation: Do you read the assignments fully with attention to detail and to more gestalt concerns? Do you note relevant ideas, questions, or current events in class and online? For example, you might forward a news story to the class with a question for discussion.

  3. Participation: Do you make at least one excellent contribution (e.g., insight or question) to each class without monopolizing discussion? (See section on participation balance below.) Participation involves more than merely generating comments. You need to engage with others’ ideas, provide feedback, and contribute to the whole. The quality of participation matters.

  4. Activity: Do you fully and meaningfully engage in group exercises? Do you follow up on open questions and share your findings with the class?

In a nutshell, you should ask yourself: "Am I consistently making a positive contribution to the class -- to course discussions, activities, and class dynamics?"

Preparing for Class: Readings

Don’t just do the readings for our class. Do the readings with a well-thought-out plan. Figure out what approaches, what annotation styles, what note-taking formats, etc., work for you. In addition, you can use this as a guide. Critical readers of the assigned texts should be able to provide the following:

  • A summary of the primary and supplementary points of the author’s argument;

  • A discussion of methodology (though this varies based on background/training);

  • An understanding of how this work contributes to its field(s);

  • An analysis of strengths and weaknesses (of the style of the writing, the content provided, as well as the argument); and

  • A conceptual link between the readings and the week’s and course’s concerns.

For additional background, you can investigate the authors further by, for example, uncovering a short author biography and select bibliography. But such efforts should not eclipse the main goals of reading described above.

Maintaining Participation Balance

Different faculty have very different philosophies and approaches to what constitutes participation. To be clear, more is not necessarily better.

Prof. Benjamin Mako Hill -- excerpted from this page:

In a nutshell: Be wary of speaking three times before everyone has had a chance and make sure you make at least one good contribution.

In any group there will be those who speak more and those who speak less; this might be because of differences in personality, language fluency, or culture. For instance, some people like to carefully think before they speak and some believe that interaction should be rapid and assertive. We want everyone to participate and we believe it's worthwhile to achieve balance in classroom discussion.

When I was a student, I tended to dominate conversation. My friend Joseph Reagle shared two strategies that I've found helpful:

  1. In classes where I was excited about the topic, I tried to be mindful of how much I spoke when I realized others had interesting things to say but were not as quick to speak. We are often uncomfortable with a little silence, including teachers, and speak to fill the void. However, teaching and facilitation guides recommend that we be open to such spaces: take a couple of breaths, or even say “take two minutes to think about this.” So I began a practice of pacing myself, limiting myself to three really good responses in class, and then make sure others have had time before jumping in — if at all — to contribute.

  2. In classes where I was less motivated, I found that if I could still usually come up with one good comment or question that nobody else raised. In this way, I could still make a contribution to class — and lessen my chance of being cold called.

Reagle calls these two techniques the rule of three and one for balanced discussion.

Additionally, you can be a skillful communicator by encouraging balanced discussion. For instance, notice if a person or group is hasn't said much. Without putting anyone on the spot, ask them a question or respond to something they said. (Use people's names!) Or, say you'd like to hear from someone who hasn't spoken yet, or ask the group to pause so as to collect their thoughts.

Prof. Patricia Moy

In my courses, I introduce a similar set of rules, borrowed from former UW Communication colleague John Gastil. These “rules of three” apply to both small and large courses, all with the goal of ensuring equitable participation.

Rule 1: You can’t speak more than three times each day.

Rule 2: You can’t speak for more than three minutes.

Rule 3: If you’ve not spoken for three days, it’s time to speak up.

Obviously, given the size of each course and how specific discussions evolve, these are not hard-and-fast rules. But I do invoke these rules of three as a way to remind ourselves that we need to be mindful of others and share our deliberation and discussion space.

Response Papers

This quarter includes 18 class sessions, and you will need to write 15 response papers that speak to the readings for specific days. This schedule allows you to skip one day. Even though you might choose to not submit a response paper on a given day, we still expect for you to have read the assigned pieces..

Response papers should be no more than 500 words (about one single-spaced page). So everyone will have a chance to incorporate them into their readings, response papers should be posted to our course website the afternoon before (i.e., before 5pm) each class so that the instructors and students can read and construct their own responses.

In terms of content, response papers offer you an opportunity to engage the readings by identifying common or conflicting premises, thinking through potential implications, offering political or cultural examples, posing well-supported objections, or outlining theoretical or critical extensions. Be sure to provide a short quote or two that directly engages a minimum of one of the texts. Please also pose one or two open-ended discussion questions that may serve as jumping off points for our in-class conversation. Note that response papers should include only minimal summarizing and focus more on responding to ideas.

Patricia points out that the best response papers tend to eschew summaries (we’ve all done the reading), “meta-talk,” and reflections on things you wonder about or find interesting that don’t you explain why you find it interesting.

Turn in your response paper to Canvas by posting a new message in the appropriate day in the discussion board:

After you post your paper please read all of your classmates’ responses before class and respond to a minimum of one of your classmates’ posts prior to class by 9pm on the day you submit. In your response to your classmate’s post please be sure to refer directly to him or her (i.e., “Dear Sam,”).

Deep Dive Reports and Discussion Facilitation

Deep Dive Report Due Date: Day Before Presentation at 5pm (i.e., Sunday for a Monday class; Tuesday for a Wednesday class)

Deep Dive Length: ~2500 words of main text

Deep Dive Dropbox:Deep Dive (1/2)” and “Deep Dive (2/2)” in Canvas (Please upload PDF!); Please also indicate if you would like us to share with the course.

Facilitation Plan: Outline or plan for sessions (e.g., a brief introductory outline plus a series of questions)

Facilitation Due Date: 5pm Friday for a Monday class; 5pm Monday before a Wednesday class; Instructors will give you feedback

Facilitation Dropbox:Facilitation Plan (1/2)” and “Facilitation Plan (2/2)” in Canvas (Please upload PDF!)

Twice during the quarter, you will choose sessions that you want to read about in more depth. For these days, you will facilitate class discussion and submit a “deep dive” report (instead of a response paper). We will sign up for sessions on the second day of class. The days for which you sign up should include one day that resonates with your research and one day differs markedly from it.

On the days you choose, you will also act as the facilitator for class discussion with the following responsibilities:

  • You will present in class briefly (~5-10 minutes) to introduce the topic and the readings. No need for slides.

  • You will serve as the primary discussant(s) for that class session. This involves developing a set of questions or identifying points of controversy designed to spark discussion of the reading set for the area.

  • You will develop discussion ideas and play an active role in those discussions. You are not expected to make elaborate presentations.

The day you facilitate, you will submit, instead of a response paper, a deep dive report. Upload your deep dive reports to the appropriate assignment drop on Canvas.

Your deep dive report will be an extended version of one of your response papers, running 2500 words. In your deep dive report you will be expected to

  1. Briefly situate the (sub)area/field you’re discussing for the day;

  2. Succinctly provide a genealogy of theory in the area, complete with major scholars and a mini-bibliography;

  3. Provide a close-read of the readings of the day, along with a clear connection between these readings and how they add to/connect/diverge from the geneology;

  4. Briefly discuss how these readings fit into the larger question of “what is communication theory?”

Final Papers

Due Date: Monday, December 9, 2018 at 9:00am

Maximum Length: 4500 words of main text (~15-18 pages double-spaced)

Dropbox:Final Papers” in Canvas (Please upload PDF!)

Sample Papers: Three papers available in Canvas.1

Please identify a communication topic or issue that is of scholarly interest to you and consider how the three different epistemological approaches to theorizing we have covered can be used to better understand and/or address the topic/issue.

Your analysis should evaluate the various ways in which different epistemologies and ways of theorizing can be compared by undertaking a study of this topic within each tradition. In writing your essay, identify the commonalities as well as the most salient differences between the various epistemologies, politics, and practices in communication scholarship and speak to the implications of these commonalities and differences for studying this issue/topic. You should draw from other material that we have covered in the specific subject areas as appropriate.

A successful final project will not simply tell us what scholars have said. An excellent project will demonstrate a fluency with the material we’ve covered by engaging critically, creatively, and synthetically with the material. Although it’s fine to briefly review the literature on the topic or issue you’ve identified, keep in mind that we are going to assess your work exclusively in terms of how you engage with the course material.

Final Presentations

Dropbox:Final Presentations” in Canvas (Please upload PDF!)

During the last week of class you will present a 12-minute conference-style presentation of your final paper. You do not have to read your paper verbatim and in fact we encourage you to not do so. Please use some visual aid (slides are the most common option). We expect all attendees to provide thorough and thoughtful feedback.


Part I: Introductions: What is Communication? What is Theory?

Week One

W, 9/25: Introductions and overview

  • Kahn, "The Seminar." [Available in Canvas]

  • Reedy, Justin and Madhavi Murty. “Creating a Research Agenda.” Graduate School Mentor Memo. University of Washington. [Free Online]

  • Rivenburgh, Nancy. “The Literature Review.” Graduate School Mentor Memo. University of Washington. [Free Online]

  • A debate on the politics of writing theory

Optional Readings:

  • Christian, Barbara. 1988. “The Race for Theory.” Feminist Studies 14 (1): 67–79. [Available in Canvas]

  • Belanoff, Pat, and Peter Elbow. 1989. “Summary of Ways of Responding.” In Sharing and Responding. New York: Random House. [Available in Canvas] [Suggested by Ph.D. student Marcus Johnson in COM 500, 2016]

Week Two

M, 9/30: Histor(ies) of the Field (Part I) — Speech Communication

  • Gehrke, Pat J., and William M. Keith. 2014. “Introduction: A Brief History of the National Communication Association.” In A Century of Communication Studies: The Unfinished Conversation, edited by Pat J. Gehrke and William M. Keith, 1–25. New York: Routledge. [Available in Canvas]

  • Anderson, James A., and Michael K. Middleton. 2014. “Epistemological Movements in Communication.” In A Century of Communication Studies: The Unfinished Conversation, edited by Pat J. Gehrke and William M. Keith, 82–108. New York: Routledge. [Available in Canvas]

  • Morris, Charles E., and Catherine Helen Palczewski. 2014. “Sexing Communication: Hearing Seeing, Remembering Sex/Gender and Sexuality in the NCA.” In A Century of Communication Studies: The Unfinished Conversation, edited by Pat J. Gehrke and William M. Keith, 128–65. New York: Routledge. [Available in Canvas]

Optional Readings:

  • Cohen, Herman. 1985. “The Development of Research in Speech Communication: A Historical Perspective.” In Speech Communication in the 20th Century, edited by Thomas Benson, 282–98. Southern Illinois University Press. [Available in Canvas]

  • Gunn, Joshua, and Frank E. X. Dance. 2014. “The Silencing of Speech in the Late Twentieth Century.” In A Century of Communication Studies: The Unfinished Conversation, edited by Pat J. Gehrke and William M. Keith, 64–81. New York: Routledge. [Available in Canvas]

W, 10/2: Histor(ies) of the Field (Part II)

  • Schramm, Wilbur. 1983. “The Unique Perspective of Communication: A Retrospective View.” Journal of Communication 33 (3): 6–17. [Available in Canvas]

  • Condit, Celeste Michelle. 1990. “The Birth of Understanding: Chaste Science and the Harlot of the Arts.” Communication Monographs 57 (4): 323–27. [Available in Canvas]

  • Glander, Timothy. 1999. Origins of Mass Communications Research during the American Cold War. 1 edition. Mahwah, N.J: Routledge. [Available in Canvas]

  • Peters, John Durham. 1993. “Genealogical Notes on ‘The Field.’” Journal of Communication 43 (4): 132–39. [Available in Canvas]

  • Rogers, Everett M. 1997. A History of Communication Study: A Biographical Approach. New York: Free Press.[Excerpts; Available in Canvas]

Week Three

M, 10/7: What is communication?

[Mako will not be in class today.]

  • Carey, James W. 1989. “A Cultural Approach to Communication.” In Communication as Culture: Essays on Media and Society, 13–36. Media and Popular Culture. Boston, Massachusetts: Unwin Hyman. [Available in Canvas]

  • Peters, John Durham. 1994. “The Gaps of Which Communication Is Made.” Critical Studies in Mass Communication 11 (2): 117–40. [Available in Canvas]

  • Craig, Robert T. 2006. “Communication as a Practice.” In Communication As…: Perspectives on Theory, edited by Gregory J. Shepherd, Jeffrey St. John, and Ted Striphas, 38–47. London, UK: SAGE Publications. [Available in Canvas]

  • Silvio Waisbord’s UW Colloquium in Spring 2017 (Note: Although the video 1hr 20m, the talk itself is only 31m. There are no slides so you should be able to listen on the go). [Available on Youtube]

Optional Readings:

W, 10/9: What is theory? Humanities approaches to theory

[Patricia will not be in class today.]

  • Burke, Kenneth. 1968. Language As Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method. 2nd ed. University of California Press. [Ch. 3 “Terministic Screens” (begins on p. 44; Available in Canvas]

  • Edelman, Murray. 1988. Constructing the Political Spectacle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [Ch. 1 “Some Premises about Politics” and Ch. 2 “The Construction and Uses of Social Problems”; Available in Canvas]

  • Hacking, Ian. 1999. The Social Construction of What? Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. [Ch. 1 “Why Ask What?”; Available in Canvas]

Optional Readings:

  • Mailloux, Steven. 1985. “Rhetorical Hermeneutics.” Critical Inquiry 11 (4): 620–41. [Available in Canvas]

  • Leff, Michael. 1997. “Hermeneutical Rhetoric.” In Rhetoric and Hermeneutics in Our Time: A Reader, edited by Walter Jost and Michael J. Hyde, 192–214. Yale University Press. [Available in Canvas]

Week Four

M, 10/14: What is theory? Social scientific approaches to theory

  • Abbott, Andrew. 2004. Methods of Discovery: Heuristics for the Social Sciences. New York, New York: W. W. Norton. [Chapter 1 Part I (pg 3-13); Chapter 4 (pg 110-136); Chapter 5 (pg 137-161); Chapter 6 (pg 162-210); Available in Canvas]

Optional Readings:

  • Abbott, Andrew. 2004. Methods of Discovery: Heuristics for the Social Sciences. New York, New York: W. W. Norton. [The rest of the book!; Available from Mako or from UW Libraries]

  • Kagan, Jerome. 2009. The Three Cultures: Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and the Humanities in the 21st Century. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [Available for checkout from UW Libraries]

  • Reynolds, Paul Davidson. 2006. Primer in Theory Construction. 1 edition. Boston: Routledge. [Chapters 1 & 2; Available in Canvas]

Part II: Communication Theory Epistemological Traditions

W, 10/16: What is communication theory? Epistemological Foundations

  • Lindlof, Thomas R., and Bryan C. Taylor. 2010. Qualitative Communication Research Methods. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. [“Four Paradigms and (Maybe) a Funeral” in Chapter 1, pp. 5-13; Available in Canvas]

  • Miller, Katherine. 2004. “Philosophical Foundations: What Is Theory?” In Communication Theories: Perspectives, Processes, and Contexts, 18–31. Boston, Massachusetts: McGraw-Hill. [Available in Canvas]

  • Craig, Robert T. 1999. “Communication Theory as a Field.” Communication Theory 9 (2): 119–61. [Available in UW Libraries]

  • Myers, David. 2001. “A Pox on All Compromises: Reply to Craig (1999).” Communication Theory 11 (2): 218–30. [Available in UW Libraries]

  • Craig, Robert T. 2001. “Minding My Metamodel, Mending Myers.” Communication Theory 11 (2): 231–40. [Available in UW Libraries]

Optional Readings:

  • Anderson, James A. 1996. Communication Theory: Epistemological Foundations. New York, New York: The Guilford Press. [Chapters 2 & 8, pp. 13-46, 186-199; Available in Canvas]

  • Craig, Robert T. 2009. “Metatheory.” In Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, edited by Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. [Available in Canvas]

Optional Readings About Pragmatism:

  • Barge, J. Kevin. 2001. “Practical Theory as Mapping, Engaged Reflection, and Transformative Practice.” Communication Theory 11 (1): 5–13. [Available in UW libraries]

  • Russill, Chris. 2005. “The Road Not Taken: William James’s Radical Empiricism and Communication Theory.” The Communication Review 8 (3): 277–305. [Available in UW libraries]

  • Craig, Robert T. 2007. “Pragmatism in the Field of Communication Theory.” Communication Theory 17 (2): 125–45. [Available in UW libraries]

Week Five

M, 10/21: (Post-)Positivism

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Autumn Diaz]

  • Miller, Katherine. 2004. “Post-Positivist Perspectives on Theory Development.” In Communication Theories: Perspectives, Processes, and Contexts, 32–45. Boston, Massachusetts: McGraw-Hill. [Available in Canvas]

  • Dillard, James Price. 2004. “Editor’s Comment.” Human Communication Research 30 (1): 5–7. [Available in UW libraries]

  • McLeod, Jack, and Zhongdang Pan. 2005. “Concept Explication and Theory Construction.” In The Evolution of Key Mass Communication Concepts: Honoring Jack M. Mcleod, edited by Sharon Dunwoody, Lee B. Becker, Douglas M. McLeod, and Gerald M. Kosicki, 13–78. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press. [Available in Canvas]

  • Merton, Robert K. 1957. “On Sociological Theory of the Middle Range.” In Social Theory and Social Structure, 1968 Enlarged Ed, 4–16. Free Press. [Available in Canvas]

  • [Example] Kramer, Adam D. I., Jamie E. Guillory, and Jeffrey T. Hancock. 2014. “Experimental Evidence of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion through Social Networks.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111 (24): 8788–90. [Available in UW libraries]

W, 10/23: Interpretivism

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Erin Keoppen]

  • Miller, Katherine. 2004. “Interpretive Perspectives on Theory Development.” In Communication Theories: Perspectives, Processes, and Contexts, 46–59. Boston, Massachusetts: McGraw-Hill. [Available in Canvas]

  • Geertz, Clifford. 1973. “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture.” In The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York, NY: Basic Books. [Available free online]

  • [Example] Goffman, Erving. 1967. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior. Anchor Books. [“On Face Work” pg. 5-45; Available in Canvas]

  • [Example] Foot, Kirsten. 2014. “The Online Emergence of Pushback on Social Media in the United States: A Historical Discourse Analysis.” International Journal of Communication 8 (0): 30. [Available free online]

Optional Readings:

  • Denzin, Norman K. 2010. “Moments, Mixed Methods, and Paradigm Dialogs.” Qualitative Inquiry, March. [Available in UW libraries]

Week Six

M, 10/28: Critical-cultural

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Meagan Doll]

  • During, Simon. 1993. “Introduction.” In The Cultural Studies Reader, edited by Simon During, 1–25. London, UK: Routledge. [Available in Canvas]

  • Bronner, Stephen Eric. 2011. Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction. New York, New York: Oxford University Press. [Introduction (“What is Critical Theory?”) and Chapter 1 (“The Frankfurt School”), Available in Canvas]

  • Hall, Stuart. 1997. “The Work of Representation.” In Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, 13–64. London: Sage. [Available in Canvas]

  • Durham, Meenakshi Gigi. 2019. “Critical and Cultural Studies.” Oxford Bibliographies OBO Communication (April). [Available through UW libraries]

  • [Example] Andrejevic, Mark. 2002. “The Work of Being Watched: Interactive Media and the Exploitation of Self-Disclosure.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 19 (2): 230–48. [Available through UW libraries]

Optional Readings:

  • Hesmondhalgh, David. 2007. The Cultural Industries. 2nd ed. London, UK: SAGE Publications. [Available in Canvas]

  • [Example] ]Nishime, LeiLani. 2012. “The Case for Cablinasian: Multiracial Naming from Plessy to Tiger Woods.” Communication Theory 22 (1): 92–111. [Available through UW libraries]

Part III: Specific Areas of Communication Study at UW Communication

W, 10/30: Social Interaction

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Benjamin Compton]

  • McDermott, Virginia M. 2009. “Interpersonal Communication Theories.” In Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, edited by Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss, 546–51. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. [Available in Canvas]

  • Berger, Charles R. 2008. “Interpersonal Communication.” Edited by Wolfgang Donsbach. The International Encyclopedia of Communication. New York, New York: Wiley-Blackwell. [Available in Canvas]

  • Berger, Charles R. 2005. “Interpersonal Communication: Theoretical Perspectives, Future Prospects.” Journal of Communication 55 (3):415–47. [Available through UW libraries; Available in Canvas]

  • [Example] Afifi, Tamara, and Keli Steuber. 2009. “The Revelation Risk Model (RRM): Factors That Predict the Revelation of Secrets and the Strategies Used to Reveal Them.” Communication Monographs 76 (2): 144–76. [Available through UW libraries]

Optional Readings:

  • Petronio, Sandra. 2013. “Brief Status Report on Communication Privacy Management Theory.” Journal of Family Communication 13 (1): 6–14. [Available through UW libraries]

  • [Example] Petronio, Sandra. 2004. “Road to Developing Communication Privacy Management Theory: Narrative in Progress, Please Stand By.” Journal of Family Communication 4 (October):193–207. [Available through UW libraries; Available in Canvas]

Week Seven

M, 11/4: Communication Technology & Society

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Pranav Malhotra]

  • Humphreys, Lee. 2010. “Technological Determinism.” In Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication, by Susanna Priest. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks California 91320 United States: SAGE Publications, Inc. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Pinch, Trevor J., and Wiebe E. Bijker. 1984. “The Social Construction of Facts and Artefacts: Or How the Sociology of Science and the Sociology of Technology Might Benefit Each Other.” Social Studies of Science 14 (3): 399–441. [Available in Canvas]

  • Walther, Joseph B. 1996. “Computer-Mediated Communication Impersonal, Interpersonal, and Hyperpersonal Interaction.” Communication Research 23 (1): 3–43. [Available in Canvas]

  • Nakamura, Lisa, and Peter Chow-White, eds. 2011. Race After the Internet. New York: outledge. [Introduction; Available in Canvas]

  • [Example] Parks, Malcolm R. 2011. “Boundary Conditions for the Application of Three Theories of Computer-Mediated Communication to MySpace.” Journal of Communication 61 (4): 557–74. [Available through UW libraries]

Optional Readings:

  • McOmber, James B. 1999. “Technological Autonomy and Three Definitions of Technology.” Journal of Communication 49 (3): 137–53. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Walther, Joseph B. 2012. “Affordances, Effects, and Technology Errors.” In Communication Yearbook 36, edited by Charles T. Salmon, 190–94. Routledge. [Available in Canvas]

  • Nass, Clifford, and Youngme Moon. 2000. “Machines and Mindlessness: Social Responses to Computers.” Journal of Social Issues 56 (1): 81–103. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Treem, Jeffrey W., and Paul M. Leonardi. 2013. “Social Media Use in Organizations: Exploring the Affordances of Visibility, Editability, Persistence, and Association.” Annals of the International Communication Association 36 (1): 143–89. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Rafaeli, Sheizf. 1988. “Interactivity: From New Media to Communication.” Sage Annual Review of Communication Research: Advancing Communication Science 16: 110–134. [Available in Canvas]

W 11/6: Political Communication

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Benjamin Compton]

  • Schulz, Winfried. 2008. “Political Communication.” In The International Encyclopedia of Communication, edited by Wolfgang Donsbach, 3671–82. New York, New York: Wiley-Blackwell. [Available in Canvas]

  • Jamieson, Kathleen Hall. 2017. “Creating the Hybrid Field of Political Communication: A Five-Decade-Long Evolution of the Concept of Effects.” In The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication, edited by Kate Kenski and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, 15–43. Oxford, UK: Oxford. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Blumer, Jay G., and Dennis Kavanagh. 1999. “The Third Age of Political Communication: Influences and Features.” Political Communication 16 (3): 209–30. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Schudson, Michael. 2001. “Politics as Cultural Practice.” Political Communication 18 (4): 421–31. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Katz, Elihu, and Yonatan Fialkoff. 2017. “Six Concepts in Search of Retirement.” Annals of the International Communication Association 41 (1): 86–91. [Available through UW libraries]

  • [Example] Johnston, Christopher D., and Brandon L. Bartels. 2010. “Sensationalism and Sobriety Differential Media Exposure and Attitudes toward American Courts.” Public Opinion Quarterly 74 (2): 260–85. [Available through UW libraries]

  • [Example] Edy, Jill A., and Patrick C. Meirick. 2018. “The Fragmenting Public Agenda: Capacity, Diversity, and Volatility in Responses to the ‘Most Important Problem’ Question.” Public Opinion Quarterly 82 (4): 661–85. [Available through UW libraries]

Optional Readings:

  • Rogers, Everett M. 2004. “Theoretical Diversity in Political Communication.” In Handbook of Political Communication Research, edited by Lynda Lee Kaid, 3–16. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. [Available in Canvas]

  • Moy, Patricia, Bruce Bimber, Andrew Rojecki, Michael A. Xenos, and Shanto Iyengar. 2012. “Shifting Contours in Political Communication Research.” International Journal of Communication 6 (February): 8. [Available free online]

  • Bennett, W. Lance, and Shanto Iyengar. 2008. “A New Era of Minimal Effects? The Changing Foundations of Political Communication.” Journal of Communication 58 (4): 707–31. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Holbert, R. Lance, R. Kelly Garrett, and Laurel S. Gleason. 2010. “A New Era of Minimal Effects? A Response to Bennett and Iyengar.” Journal of Communication 60 (1): 15–34. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Bennett, W. Lance, and Shanto Iyengar. 2010. “The Shifting Foundations of Political Communication: Responding to a Defense of the Media Effects Paradigm.” Journal of Communication 60 (1): 35–39. [Available through UW libraries]

Week Eight

M, 11/11: NO CLASS: Veterans Day

W, 11/13: Rhetoric

[Facilitator/Deep Dive:Erin Keoppen]

[Patricia will not be in class today and Christine Harold will be our guest!]

  • Ceccarelli, Leah. 1998. “Polysemy: Multiple Meanings in Rhetorical Criticism.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 84 (4): 395–415. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Porrovecchio, Mark J, and Celeste Michelle Condit. 2016. Contemporary Rhetorical Theory: A Reader. 2nd ed. New York, New York: The Guilford Press. [Available in Canvas]

  • McKerrow, Raymie E. 1989. “Critical Rhetoric: Theory and Praxis.” Communication Monographs 56 (2): 91–111. [Available in Canvas]

  • Biesecker, Barbara. 1992. “Michel Foucault and the Question of Rhetoric.” Philosophy & Rhetoric 25 (4): 351–64. [Available through UW libraries]

  • [Example] King, Kyle R. 2017. “Three Waves of Gay Male Athlete Coming out Narratives.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 103 (4): 372–94. [Available through UW libraries]

Optional Readings:

  • Warner, Michael. 2002. “Publics and Counterpublics.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 88 (4): 413–25. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Jasinski, James. 2001. “The Status of Theory and Method in Rhetorical Criticism.” Western Journal of Communication 65 (3): 249–70. [Available in Canvas]

  • [Example] Pezzullo, Phaedra C. 2003. “Resisting ‘National Breast Cancer Awareness Month’: The Rhetoric of Counterpublics and Their Cultural Performances.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 89 (4): 345–65. [Available through UW libraries]

Week Nine

M, 11/18: Communication & Culture

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Autumn Diaz]

  • Horkheimer, Max, and Theodor W. Adorno. 2007. “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.” In Dialectic of Enlightenment, edited by Gunzelin Schmid Noerr, translated by Edmund Jephcott, 94–136. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. [Available in Canvas]

  • Hall, Stuart. 1990. “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” In Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, edited by Jonathan Rutherford. London: Lawrence & Wishart. [Available in Canvas]

  • Mead, George Herbert. 1929. “The Nature of the Past.” In Essays in Honor of John Dewey, edited by John Coss, 235–42. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company. [Available in Canvas]

  • Maines, David R., Noreen M. Sugrue, and Michael A. Katovich. 1983. “The Sociological Import of G. H. Mead’s Theory of the Past.” American Sociological Review 48 (2): 161–73. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Hesmondhalgh, David, and Andy C. Pratt. 2005. “Cultural Industries and Cultural Policy.” International Journal of Cultural Policy 11 (1): 1–13. [Available in Canvas]

  • [Example] Bell, Katherine M. 2017. “‘Wildest Dreams’: The Racial Aura of Celebrity Safari.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies 14 (4): 369–84. [Available in Canvas]

Optional Readings:

  • Joseph, Ralina L. 2017. “What’s the Difference with ‘Difference’? Equity, Communication, and the Politics of Difference.” International Journal of Communication 11 (0): 21. [Available free online]

  • Edy, Jill A. 1999. “Journalistic Uses of Collective Memory.” Journal of Communication 49 (2): 71–85. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Livingstone, Sonia. 2013. “The Participation Paradigm in Audience Research.” The Communication Review 16 (1–2): 21–30. [Available in Canvas]

  • [Example] McKay, Susan, and Frances Bonner. 1999. “Telling Stories: Breast Cancer Pathographies in Australian Women’s Magazines.” Women’s Studies International Forum 22 (5): 563–71. [Available through UW libraries]

  • [Example] Redmond, Sean. 2010. “Avatar Obama in the Age of Liquid Celebrity.” Celebrity Studies 1 (1): 81–95. [Available through UW libraries]

W, 11/20: Global Communication

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Pranav Malhotra]

  • Giri, Vijai N. 2009. “Intercultural Communication Theories.” In Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, edited by Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss, 531–36. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. [Full Book Available Online]

  • Alleyne, Mark DaCosta. 2009. “International Communication Theories.” In Encyclopedia of Communication Theory, edited by Stephen W. Littlejohn and Karen A. Foss, 537–41. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE. [Full Book Available Online]

  • Thussu, Daya Kishan. 2000. International Communication: Continuity and Change. London, UK: Arnold. [Chapter 2 (pg. 53–81); Available in Canvas]

  • Crofts Wiley, Stephen B. 2004. “Rethinking Nationality in the Context of Globalization.” Communication Theory 14 (1): 78–96. [Available through UW libraries]

  • Mirrlees, Tanner. 2013. Global Entertainment Media: Between Cultural Imperialism and Cultural Globalization. New York, NY: Routledge. [chapter 6 (pg. 209-239); Available in Canvas]

  • Benson, Rodney, Matthew Powers, and Timothy Neff. 2017. “Public Media Autonomy and Accountability: Best and Worst Policy Practices in 12 Leading Democracies.” International Journal of Communication 11 (0): 22. [Available Free Online]

  • [Example] Rao, Shakuntala. 2010. “‘I Need an Indian Touch’: Glocalization and Bollywood Films.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 3 (1): 1–19. [Available through UW libraries]

Optional Readings:

  • Saint-Jacques, Bernard. 2011. “Intercultural Communication in a Globalized World.” In Intercultural Communication: A Reader, edited by Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter, and Edwin R. McDaniel, 13 edition. Boston, Mass: Cengage Learning. [Available in Canvas]

  • Oehlkers, Peter W. 2000. “Mediating News: The ‘International Media Echo’ and Symbolic International Relations.” In The Global Dynamics of News: Studies in International News Coverage and News Agenda, edited by Abbas Malek and Anandam P. Kavoori. Stamford, CCT: Ablex. [Available in Google Books]

  • Moon, Dreama G., and Michelle A. Holling. 2015. “A Politic of Disruption: Race(Ing) Intercultural Communication.” Journal of International and Intercultural Communication 8 (1): 1–6. [Available through UW libraries]

Week Ten

M, 11/25: Journalism Studies

[Facilitator/Deep Dive: Meagan Doll]

  • Gans, Herbert J. 1979. “Deciding What’s News: Story Suitability.” Society 16 (3): 65–77. [Available in UW libraries]

  • Schudson, Michael. 2003. The Sociology of News. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. [Chapter 2; Available in Canvas]

  • Shoemaker, Pamela J., and Stephen D. Reese. 2013. Mediating the Message in the 21st Century. New York: Routledge. [Chapters 1 and 2; Available in Canvas]

  • Waisbord, Silvio. 2013. Reinventing Professionalism: Journalism and News in Global Perspective. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. [Chapters 1 and 5; Available in Canvas]

  • Christin, Angèle. 2018. “Counting Clicks: Quantification and Variation in Web Journalism in the United States and France.” American Journal of Sociology 123 (5): 1382–1415. [Available in UW libraries]

Part IV: Thinking Across Epistemologies and Areas

W, 11/27: Closing Thoughts

  • Innis, Harold A. 1951. The Bias of Communication. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press. [Pages 33-60; Available in Canvas]

  • McLuhan, Marshall. 1964. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. New York: Penguin Books. [Introduction and Chapter 1; Available in Canvas]

  • Shannon, Claude Elwood, and Warren Weaver. 1969. The Mathematical Theory of Communication. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press. [Chapter 1; Available in Canvas]

  • Katz, Elihu. 2019. “His Master’s Voice.” In Voices: Exploring the Shifting Contours of Communication, edited by Patricia Moy and Donald Matheson, 243–51. Annual Conference Theme Book Series 6. New York, NY: Peter Lang. [Available in Canvas]

Week Eleven

M, 12/2: No Meeting

With everyone’s permission, we’ve extended the final session on 12/4 so that everybody can present on the final day.

W, 12/4: Class will start at 11:30 — Final Paper Workshops

No readings. The final session will be devoted entirely to students presenting their papers. As discussed we this be a longer class so that every student has a full perio

had to present their work.

Other Important Information for Students in the Course

Religious Accommodations

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy. Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form.

Student Conduct

The University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-121) defines prohibited academic and behavioral conduct and describes how the University holds students accountable as they pursue their academic goals. Allegations of misconduct by students may be referred to the appropriate campus office for investigation and resolution. More information can be found online at


Call SafeCampus at 206-685-7233 anytime – no matter where you work or study – to anonymously discuss safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others. SafeCampus’s team of caring professionals will provide individualized support, while discussing short- and long-term solutions and connecting you with additional resources when requested.

Academic Dishonesty

This includes: cheating on assignments, plagiarizing (misrepresenting work by another author as your own, paraphrasing or quoting sources without acknowledging the original author, or using information from the internet without proper citation), and submitting the same or similar paper to meet the requirements of more than one course without instructor approval. Academic dishonesty in any part of this course is grounds for failure and further disciplinary action. The first incident of plagiarism will result in the student’s receiving a zero on the plagiarized assignment. The second incident of plagiarism will result in the student’s receiving a zero in the class.

Disability Resources

If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to uw at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Other Student Support

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the graduate program advisor for support. Furthermore, please notify the professors if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable us to provide any resources that we may possess (adapted from Sara Goldrick-Rab). Please also note the student food pantry, Any Hungry Husky at the ECC.

A Note On Community

To state the obvious, a graduate seminar is a venue for group learning. Yet, writer Malcolm Gladwell rightly observes how limited our understanding of groups often is:

We divide them into cults and clubs, and dismiss the former for their insularity and the latter for their banality. The cult is the place where, cut off from your peers, you become crazy. The club is the place where, surrounded by your peers, you become boring. Yet if you can combine the best of those two—the right kind of insularity with the right kind of homogeneity—you create an environment both safe enough and stimulating enough to make great thoughts possible.2

Creating the kind of group Gladwell describes is a tall order indeed but, we believe, one worth pursuing. We encourage all of us to collaborate on building an environment that is rigorous yet flexible, coherent yet experimental. The quality of this course largely depends on your participation in class discussions. Much of our reading will be challenging, somewhat abstract and, for many of us, outside our “wheelhouse.” So our success will require a thoughtful and critical engagement with each week’s reading. That said, some days our work will likely be along the lines of “what the heck’s being said here?!” That process is very valuable, so try to approach challenging or unfamiliar material as an adventure. In other words, grappling with stuff is good. Grappling with stuff out loud with others can be great. You don’t always have to completely “get it” to participate. You do, however, need to be prepared.

  1. The authors were very generous to be willing to share their work. Please respect their generosity by not sharing these any further without asking them!

  2. Gladwell’s comment comes from his analysis of the innovative group dynamic among the original “not ready for prime time” players on Saturday Night Live.